Vicarious Experimentation Through Imitation: Evidence From Video Game Sequel Releases

51 Pages Posted: 12 May 2023

See all articles by Sangyoon Yi

Sangyoon Yi

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Marketing & Management - Strategic Organization Design (SOD) Group; Graduate School of Future Strategy

Hart E. Posen

Tuck School of Business - Dartmouth College

Martin Ganco

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Management and Human Resources

Date Written: October 24, 2022

Abstract

Research in the strategy literature that highlights the role of imitation has tended to focus primarily on its detrimental effects on the performance of imitated firms. Developing the notion of vicarious experimentation, we examine how innovators can learn from being imitated. Specifically, we develop a theory describing how imitation provides a pool of experiments complementing the experiential learning of the focal firm and we propose several contingencies. We test the theory in the context of the US console video game industry and find that, controlling for the current product quality, the focal firm’s next-generation product achieves a higher quality if more clones of the original product are introduced by other firms. This effect is stronger when the imitators are more visible in the market and the focal firm retains product-specific organizational knowledge across product generations.

Keywords: Imitation, strategy, organizational learning, experimentation

Suggested Citation

Yi, Sangyoon and Posen, Hart E. and Ganco, Martin, Vicarious Experimentation Through Imitation: Evidence From Video Game Sequel Releases (October 24, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4443707 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4443707

Sangyoon Yi

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Marketing & Management - Strategic Organization Design (SOD) Group ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense, 5000
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.sod-research.com/sangyoon-yi

Graduate School of Future Strategy ( email )

373-1 Kusong-dong
Yuson-gu
Taejon 305-701, 130-722
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Hart E. Posen (Contact Author)

Tuck School of Business - Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Martin Ganco

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Management and Human Resources ( email )

Madison, WI
United States

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